Blank AC, Hakim S, Strengers JL, Tanke RB, van Veen TA, Vos MA, Takken T.
Pediatr Cardiol. 2012;33(4):576-85.


The management of patients with isolated congenital complete atrioventricular block (CCAVB) has changed during the last decades. The current policy is to pace the majority of patients based on a variety of criteria, among which is limited exercise capacity. Data regarding exercise capacity in this population stems from previous publications reporting small case series of unpaced patients. Therefore, we have investigated the exercise capacity of a group of contemporary children with CCAVB. Sixteen children (mean age 11.5 ± 4; seven boys, nine girls) with CCAVB were tested. In 13 patients, a median number of three pacemakers were implanted, whereas in three patients no pacemaker was given. All patients had an echocardiogram and completed a cardiopulmonary cycle exercise test. Exercise parameters were determined and compared with reference values obtained from healthy Dutch peers. The peak oxygen uptake/body mass was reduced to 34.4 ± 9.5 ml kg(-1) min(-1) (79 ± 24% of predicted) and the ventilatory threshold was reduced to 52 ± 17% of peak oxygen uptake (78 ± 21% of predicted), whereas the peak work load/body mass was 2.8 ± 0.6 W/kg (91 ± 24% of predicted), which was similar to controls. Importantly, 25% of the paced patients showed upper rate restriction by the pacemaker. In conclusion, children with CCAVB show a reduced peak oxygen uptake and ventilatory threshold, whereas they show normal peak work rates. This indicates that they generate more energy during exercise from anaerobic energy sources. Paced children with CCAVB do not perform better than unpaced children.

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